Why no born again Christian will sit on the Supreme Court

February 22, 2016

Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia once lamented the fact that there was not more diversity on the bench. He was not referring to more African Americans or more gays or more women. He was specifically referring to Evangelicals or born again Christians.

The fact is that while some polls show as many as 48% of the American public claim to be born again, not one of them has ever sat on the Supreme Court. And don’t expect that to change any time soon. As Scalia pointed out, our most recent Court consisted of six Catholics and three Jews.

In 1988, working for the George H.W. Bush campaign for president, I was confronted with Evangelical pastors and denominational leaders complaining about the extra legal and accounting expenses they were incurring.

We were told that the IRS was unfairly targeting their non profits and actually requiring them to change doctrines to meet  newly, governmentally created criteria. For example, new  IRS rules were requiring that all religious organization have sacradotal functions or lose their tax exemption. But must the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association actually conduct mass communion services and perform marriages to be a legitimate religious non profit?

The problem was that many of such issues were on their way to the Supreme Court and could impact American Christianity for years to come.

“We represent almost half of the country and we don’t have a Supreme Court Justice?” They would point out.

When the Bush, Sr. campaign won the White House we conducted a study out of my office. We were on the hunt for a good born again Christian, federal judge.  Out of 749 authorized, active, federal judges who were then confirmed and serving in their positions, we could find only four who claimed to be “born again.”

How could they hope to have a Supreme Court Justice when they were so poorly represented among federal judges? And how could such a thing happen to a massive bloc of the American public?

Then a news story appeared declaring  “IRS to target evangelical ministries.” It sent a chill throughout the evangelical world. I was ordered to try to ameliorate the situation.

When we learned that an IRS regional director of non profits was a “Catholic Pentecostal” and claimed to be “born again,” we invited him to my office and I latter had dinner with him in the White House mess.

I asked my guest, “Can you imagine what would happen if there was a headline saying that the IRS is targeting Jewish organizations?

“Can you help us with this issue?” I asked. “Are there other born again Christians in the IRS so we can get some dialogue going and make sure this is not some institutional bias?”

“Oh yes,” he assured me, there is no bias at all in our culture. “I can find some top officials at the IRS who understand this and can help  us, I am sure there are plenty of other born again employees at top levels of the agency.”

But after six months we could not find another, single, self identified born again Christian official in the top 300 positions at the IRS. They may have been there but we could not find them.

In 1990, I arranged an Oval Office meeting between the president of the United States and the last four presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention. They wanted one thing. The appointment of one, just one, federal judge.

“Well, that’s a done deal,” the president said, turning to me. “Isn’t it Doug?”

I concurred. We had a name and it was on the fast track to the Senate.

But when we started to advance the president’s nominee he was immediately opposed by an avalanche of media and special interest attacks. We tried another and another. Some with impeccable credentials. Not a chance.

We finally succeeded in getting one nominee onto the FCC but only by hiding his religious background. He was very successful and went on to head the Public Broadcasting System where he was widely acclaimed.

I told this story to George W. Bush, who had been my boss during the campaign and would check in on the White House from time to time. Later, as president, he tried to nominate born again Christian, Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. She was quickly shot down.

Ironically, many of the evangelical Washington based organizations, who raise money from fellow Christians to lobby the government, turned against her. The story in Washington was that they had received bigger donations from other competing, non evangelical organizations.

One thing for sure. There will be no born again Christian on the Supreme Court now or anytime soon. It won’t matter if they eventually represent half of the American public. The national mainstream media will maintain its veto power over American culture. And this is one important way that it does the job.

 

 


Rubio’s blunder is Trump’s gain in Iowa

January 31, 2016

 

Doug Wead
In the closing hours before the Iowa Caucus Senator Marco Rubio has made a significant blunder. It may be crippling his last minute Iowa surge just as it is getting off the ground.  So far, Donald Trump is the big beneficiary.
Here’s the story. On January 10, 2016 Senator Rubio brashly announced in an email that he now represented the Billy Graham wing of the Evangelical Movement, Ted Cruz represented the Jerry Falwell wing and Donald Trump represented the Jimmy Swaggart wing. In that one email he managed to offend some of the most important leaders of influence in the Christian world as well as damage himself with some of the most important blocks of Evangelicals in Iowa. It was a clumsy move that is still causing his campaign to lose air right when it needs all the help it can get.
First, this writer was told that he did not have Billy Graham’s permission to use his name. No, the beloved evangelist had not endorsed him. Months earlier, when cocky Rubio officials tried to set up a meeting with the evangelist they were turned down. Later, when Rubio used his name anyway it created a backlash that it is still unfolding. Evangelical leaders, who have a lot of influence over the rank and file, deeply resent the apparent manipulation. They see Rubio as taking advantage of the aging Christian leader.
Second, by announcing that Ted Cruz had won the Jerry Falwell wing of the party Marco Rubio rankled many Southern Baptists.
The late Jerry Falwell was a controversial figure in American culture. The national media had demonized him. His negatives were high. His own followers were well aware of the challenges and loved him anyway. His inner circle was working to help. Toward the end of his life Falwell had moved from his Fundamentalist beginnings at the Baptist Bible Fellowship to become a major figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Meanwhile, his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr., was building the largest University in America.
Rubio’s veiled put down of Falwell and Cruz backfired not only on Rubio but on Cruz as well.  On January 26, 2016, Jerry Falwell, Jr., clearly his own man, promptly endorsed Donald Trump.
Finally, Rubio’s caustic remark about Swaggart and Trump may turn out to be his biggest blunder of all. Donald Trump, Rubio claimed, was the leader of the Jimmy Swaggart wing of the Evangelical Movement.  Swaggart, a Pentecostal, was at the center of the televangelist scandal of the 1980’s which involved prostitutes and other misconduct.  And after all, Donald Trump was getting some help from Paula White a prominent Pentecostal figure. White had arranged a meeting between Trump and national Christian leaders.
Rubio, allegedly getting counsel from Southern Baptist insider, Russell Moore,  must have thought he would be pretty safe dissing the Pentecostals.
One big problem. According to Gallup 41% of the American people claim to be Born Again. A disproportionate number of them live in Iowa.  And according to Barna 51% of those born again Christians believe in the charismata or gifts of the Holy Spirit. “For the Barna survey, this included people who said they were a charismatic or Pentecostal Christian, that they had been ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ and who said they believe that ‘the charismatic gifts, such as tongues and healing, are still valid and active today.'”
It gets worse. 82% of the members of the Southern Baptist Convention live in thirteen southern states. They will be the single most important voting block in Southern States on March 1st.  But most of the born again Christians in Iowa are neither Billy Graham Baptists nor Jerry Falwell Baptists. They are Pentecostals who Rubio just painted with the same Jimmy Swaggart brush.
If Rubio doesn’t want their votes, Donald Trump will take them.
It gets worse.  If Rubio’s false flag Billy Graham endorsement were not enough, it turns out that the Charismatic Catholics are at the heart of his own Catholic Church.  They number into the millions worldwide.  As word of Rubio’s insults spread his Evangelical supporters are troubled and now his own fellow Catholic Charismatics, major players in Iowa, are beginning to get the news.
Ben Carson had his own meltdown with Evangelicals last December. He was briefly leading in national polls when he gave an interview to Sally Quinn. She asked the candidate if he believed in a literal hell.  He did not.  It turns out that an astonishing 61% of Americans believe in hell and more importantly for Carson, 87% of Evangelical Christians do.  As word of Carson’s interview spread his support collapsed in Iowa and Ted Cruz was the chief beneficiary.
Ghandi once said, “He who says that religion and politics don’t mix, understands neither one.”

 


Rand Paul: The best choice for Born Again Christians

January 25, 2016

While all of the other presidential candidates are carving up different sectors of the Evangelical Christian vote and insulting each other in the process, one thing is clear, Senator Rand Paul is the favorite of the “young” Evangelicals.

Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, is one of the most important evangelical leaders in the country. He must keep the peace among the powerful televangelists and thus is meticulously neutral in the 2016 presidential race.  But his son, Isaac Johnson, supports Rand Paul.

David Lane, labeled by the New York Times as “something of a stealth weapon for the right” has brokered meetings with evangelical leaders and most of the Republican candidates from Ted Cruz  and Ben Carson to Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. But his daughter, Jillian Lane, supports Rand Paul and works as his press secretary.

James Robison, televangelist, who is perhaps the most politically savvy Christian leader in the country, has met all of the Republican candidates and refused to make a commitment.  But his son, James Randall Robison, supports Rand Paul.  And recently co-authored a book with him.

Surprisingly, Christian youth, like their secular counterparts support Rand Paul for some of the same reasons.

Yes, there is his lonely stand against the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.  There is his stand for criminal justice reform.  There is his stand for Life. But the key to his support is his campaign against the corruption that has killed the free enterprise system.  And that corruption has reached the point that it has become a moral crisis every much as important as abortion and religious freedom.

The only time Jesus lost his temper was when he saw how the moneychangers were cheating the people in the Temple.  Well, the moneychangers are back.

The ongoing transfer of wealth to a tiny few has robbed the churches and the American youth of billions of dollars.  Here’s how it works.

#1) Excessive regulations designed to protect the public are used to prevent start ups and the big companies are often exempted. It prevents young people from participating in the economy.

#2) Excessive taxes that subsidize some companies and penalize others have created monopolies.  It prevents young people from participating in the economy. In some cases their own tax dollars are subsidizing their very own competition.

#3) Policies of the Federal Reserve which award multibillion dollar loans at zero percent interest to banks and big companies while new businesses must pay interest through the nose keep the money flowing to the very few.  It prevents young people from participating in the economy.

#4) Those same companies buy the advertising from major media and get a free pass on the process in return.  Candidates who stand up to the corruption see themselves as targets of that media or ignored.  After all, the media giants are feasting off of the very same system.

When the previous Federal Reserve Chairman was asked why the FED had given an interest free loan over $100 million to the McDonalds Corporation he answered, “To create jobs.”

Ron Paul, the Senator’s father, was a candidate for president at the time and challenged the loan.  At the next presidential debate the NBC moderator was given more time than Ron Paul.  When Paul later complained to the host he was told, “I’m sorry Dr. Paul, a voice in my headset said, ‘Don’t go to Ron Paul, don’t go to Ron Paul.’”  The McDonalds Corporation sponsors the NBC Evening News.

The FED’s answer to why some companies get loans at zero interest and others do not proves the point.  Today’s economy has created $7 an hour jobs for graduates with Master’s and Doctorate Degrees. You can work at McDonalds but you cannot start your own Hamburger business.

For all but a very lucky few, the American dream is dead.

Senator Rand Paul has emerged as the only hope to save the country from this crisis.

While many candidates, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, speak to the problem, there is no one else other than Rand Paul, who could even come close to providing a solution.

Bernie Sanders would take us deeper into socialism, already rejected by world history.

It was recently revealed that Ted Cruz, who publicly decries the pernicious role of the banks in corrupting the system, had his whole career financed by Goldman Sachs and hid that fact on his reporting documentation.

Donald Trump openly admits he gamed the system to build his businesses empire.

Brian Jacobs, a former consultant to the Billy Graham Organization agrees. “Pure religion is caring for the widows and orphans and how does that square with a monetary system that is rigged to keep out newcomers.”

It is theft. It has become a moral crisis. And both Republicans and Democrats are involved.  Only Senator Rand Paul offers a solution.


Exclusive: Inside the Trump campaign panic!

December 16, 2015

“Now the trouble with trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”  – C.S. Lewis

The national media prides itself in its ignorance of religion but that can sometimes lead to unintentional blackouts, where the news makes no sense to them or anybody else. This past month we experienced such a blackout in American politics and so I am tasked with offering an explanation.

As you know, presidential candidate, Donald Trump announced we should temporarily ban all Muslim immigration into the U.S.  The media is still puzzled about what he is up to.  Most just chalk it down to his erratic behavior, a random act of trying to stay in the headlines.

Then there is the Ted Cruz lift off and the Ben Carson collapse.  With no explanation for either one.  It is just something that happened.  Evolution.

Now, here is the skinny, I summarize for those of you locked into the Boston-New York-Washington corridor who have just a tad bit of intellectual curiosity.  Those of us dirty, ignorant, religious rabble living on the outside knew this all along and have been watching with fascination as you have tried to put together this political rubrics cube.

On December 1, 2015, Sally Quinn wrote a piece for the Washington Post on “Why Ben Carson doesn’t believe in hell.”  Now, I should point out that Sally Quinn is not your typical, left wing, ultra liberal bigot.  She is an informed person who knows the width and breadth of American culture, including its Evangelical Christian plains and Southern cities.  She has bumped into the 51% of Americans who claim to be “born again.”  She and her late husband, Ben Bradlee, must have had a cousin or sibling or servant who was “born again” because they had a knowledge of how it works that not many in their circle can boast.  So when Sally cornered Ben Carson, she knew what she was doing.

Unfortunately for him, Ben Carson, did not.

Sally asked Carson if he believed in a literal hell.  Carson said he did not.  He should have said, “None of your damn business.” Or, “The U.S. Constitution says there is no religious test for office.  Now, if you want to give this list of questions to Hillary Clinton go right ahead but my faith is a very private and personal thing.”

But in that moment,  Carson, who was leading in some national polls, was agonizing over how he was going to win the general election and, perhaps, how he was going to win the “Sally Quinn Caucus.”  And so he gave his answer and those of us who understand religion know what followed.

61% of all Americans believe in hell.  87% of Evangelicals do.  And who knows how high that number gets when you narrow it down to Republican activists most likely to vote in Iowa?

Soon after the Sally Quinn piece appeared, the Ted Cruz folks started passing it around the internet and the Carson bubble burst.  Even Evangelicals who didn’t believe in hell started to slip away. Did it mean that Carson did not believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

The move to Ted Cruz became so pronounced that Bob Vander Platts, the Family Life-Tony Perkins- incarnation in Iowa, who prides himself with picking the winner, rushed to get in on the act. Wait for me, I am your leader.  I am the guy who names the winner.  People pay me money to endorse them. Vander Platts endorsed Ted Cruz on December 14.

Meanwhile, right after the Carson-Quinn interview from hell,  insiders with Donald Trump saw a disaster in the making.  The original thinking was that the Evangelical vote in Iowa would be divided between Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum.  The Catholic vote would be divided between Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and, again, Santorum, who is a switch hitter.  But now the Carson collapse was feeding into a Ted Cruz ascent.

The Trump camp was confronted with this reality. Cruz would win Iowa, cause an explosion of excitement, maybe lose New Hampshire to Trump the next week but come back to win South Carolina and lock in his place as the Trump alternative and win the nomination.  Trump had to do something.  And it had to be newsworthy.  It had to be bigger than anything before it, which was a bit of a challenge.  And yet it had to be something he could walk back later in the general election. Hey, forget the general election.  If Trump didn’t win the nomination who cared?

And so, one week after Carson told Sally Quinn that there is no hell, Trump announced we should stop all Muslim immigration.

Two days later he also made a clumsy attempt to hurt Cruz by saying, “Not many Evangelicals come out of Cuba.”  This was Trump trying to sew doubt about the purity of Cruz born again bona fides. Like other Trump statements there was a seam of something dark here. Was Trump trying to appeal to an imagined Evangelical anti-Catholic bias?

And that, my poor, dear, ignorant, religious free, members of the mainstream media,  is how and why it all happened.  I thought you should know.  The rest of us do.

Here is the story in Newsmax

http://www.newsmax.com/DougWead/carson-cruz-trump-2016/2015/12/16/id/705984/


Would Ben Carson really be the first 7th Day Adventist president?

October 30, 2015

Yes, technically, if Ben Carson wins the American presidency he would be the first, openly admitted, Seventh Day Adventist in the White House. But there have been others that the Adventists could claim as their own and with good reason.  Warren G. Harding comes to mind.  The 29th president’s mother, sisters, brother and many friends were Adventists.  Some of those friends and relatives were appointed to prominent positions of power.

There were widespread rumors – believed among Adventists – that Harding was only publicly a Baptist “for political reasons.”  The embarrassing truth about Harding’s lusty lifestyle would not become widely known until his death and is even still unraveling thanks to recent DNA tests confirming that he was indeed the father of the illegitimate child he always denied.

Our current president, Barack Obama, has Adventist roots. His ancestors trace their spiritual lineage to Adventist missionaries in Africa.  As the 2009 inauguration of Obama was planned in Washington, D.C.  journalists descended on the Obama family in Kenya where they found two, rather evenly divided groups.  Adventists and Muslims.  The international press ignored the Obama Adventists and spent their time pursuing stories on the Islamic side of the family.  Nevertheless, the Obama family roots in this faith are well established.

Now, leading in the polls in Iowa, GOP presidential candidate and neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, is getting a closer look and his religion is becoming bit of an item.  Former Iowa front runner, Donald Trump, made a point to talk about it.  “I’m Presbyterian.  Boy, that’s down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh Day Adventist? I don’t know about that.”  Trump’s apparent reckless and politically incorrect comments are usually much more calculated and nuanced than meets the eye.  Here he is trying to make a point to born again Christians in Iowa.  This guy is suspect.  That group is a cult.

Nowadays, the beleaguered Evangelical Movement has no problem with a fellow Christian who calls himself a Seventh Day Adventist.  As we learned at Columbine and Umpqua Community College, Christians are lined up and shot for their faith in this country. The killers don’t ask if you worship on Saturday, as the Seventh Day Adventists believe, or on Sunday, as most other Christians do.

Seventh Day Adventist, George Vandeman, who for years hosted the popular Christian television program, It Is Written, was widely loved and respected.  The show was consistently ranked by the Nielsen Company as one of the top three most watched Christian television programs in America.  Vandeman had a wide following of Catholics and Protestants.

In 1879, Warren G. Harding was at Ohio Central College, a Baptist institution, when his mother and aunt joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church. By some accounts all of his siblings were raised in the new faith.  And while Harding clung to the his independent and more “worldly” lifestyle as a Baptist he was at times drawn to the doctrines and health practices of his mother’s religion of choice.  Once suffering from depression a young Harding visited a sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan.  It was run by the famous Adventist medical doctor, John Harvey Kellogg, who practiced holistic medicine and won fame for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal.

When Harding became president the door to power opened wide to Adventists.  The president brought his own homeopathic doctor, Charles Sawyer, back to Washington.   The presidents’ sister ran a program for unwed mothers.  Her husband, Herber Votaw, a minister in the church, was appointed Director of the Federal Prison System.

Ironically, the Harding administration was one of the most scandal ridden presidencies in history.  While the Adventist publications praised Harding during his time in power, they grew silent when after his death the skeletons began tumbling out of the White House closets.  Harding, who kept a mistress, ran for office touting prohibition. Meanwhile, he privately loved his whiskey, which he served to guests in the White House in spite of the law.

Eventually, the scandals threatened to touch the church itself.  Harding’s brother in law, Herber Votaw was accused of allowing a drug ring to operate freely in the Atlanta Penitentiary.  The charges were unproven and Votaw left public life, returning quietly to work in the Adventist Church.

After Warren G. Harding, gun shy Adventists elders reflected sadly on their church’s brush with power, vowing to remain focused on spiritual matters, while earthly events could take care of themselves.  But now, things have changed.  This is a time when Christians are lined up an shot dead for their faith.  There is a hostile media declaring open warfare on their values.  And finally, there is the emergence of Ben Carson, a quiet, self effacing doctor, now a front-runner for the GOP nomination.  He is not a descendent of Adventists like Obama.  Or a friend of Adventists like Harding.  He is the real thing.

See below: Doug Wead on the collapse of the Jeb Bush Campaign.  30 Seconds.


Has President Goodluck Johnathan freed the captives? Will the Chibok girls come home?

October 17, 2014
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According to news reports coming out of Nigeria the government of president Goodluck Johnathan may have successfully negotiated the release of the 276 captured Chibok school girls from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.  As of this moment there has been no confirmation from the Boko Haram and none of the girls, declared as slaves by their Islamic captors, have been freed, although an estimated 50 have escaped.
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If the reports are true it would be a stunning diplomatic victory for the Nigerian president.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced it will declare Nigeria an Ebola Free Zone, a claim that the United States cannot make. International observers are praising Nigeria for its thoughtful and measured action in dealing with the Ebola crisis while faulting the United States for its arrogance and complacency in responding to the danger.
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Boko Harma, which means “Western Education is Forbidden” has received worldwide condemnation for its campaign of rape, murder and torture of children across Africa. An estimated 5,000 have been murdered this year.
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While many American news organizations have characterized the conflict in Nigeria as a war between Christians and Muslims, the toll of death and destruction has been markedly one sided with Christians refusing the fight back. Tracking by the Jubilee organization out of Fairfax, Virginia has shown that in the last two years more Christians have been killed in northern Nigeria alone than in all other countries of the world combined.
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Speaking before the Hudson Institute and other forums, Nigerian human rights activist, Emmanuel Ogebe offers a compelling litany of the atrocities of recent years.
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Bokko Haram suicide bombers attacked St.Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Rayfield killing 13, including the boy scouts who welcomed visitors and operated the church gate.
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More than 200 were killed in a single day of brutal massacres in Kano State.
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When Christians dared to vote in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, their city was burned to the ground by Islamic jihadists.
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Larger cities are no guarantee of safety. A prominent pastor was dragged from a taxi on a city street and stabbed to death for refusing to convert to Islam on the spot.
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A Church of Christ congregation was attacked in Jos Plateau State, killing two women, a one year old child and injuring 50.
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The countryside can be especially dangerous. 500 Christian villagers in Dogo Nahawa were massacred by Muslim herdsmen.
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In 2012, Muslims killed 88 villagers and burned 187 houses in Jos North.  When survivors and mourners, led by a Christian Senator Gyang Dantong held a burial service the next day, the Nigerian Senator was, himself, murdered and 13 other mourners along with him.
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For several years, the United States government of president Barack Obama turned a blind eye to the calamity, refusing all calls to name Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.  In December, 2012, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stunned African leaders by raising the alarm over the massacre of elephants while ignoring the human slaughter of Christians in nearby Nigeria. “Our goal is to inform more people about his crisis,” she said, of the threat to the elephants, “attacks are multiplying at an alarming rate.”
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In November, 2013, the United States, responding to widespread outrage from human rights organizations finally determined that the Islamic organization, Boko Haram, were indeed terrorists.  At the same time the U.S. government insisted that news reports claiming that the terrorists were funded by Al Qaeda was false.  Other news reports say that the group receives substantial financial support from British and Saudi Arabian Islamic communities.
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In April, 2014 the Boko Haram descended on the Northern Nigerian village of Chibok where they kidnapped 276 teenage girls from a State run boarding school.  According to reports of girls who escaped, they were ordered at gunpoint to convert to Islam.  Boko Haram announced that the the girls, some as young as 13, would be sold as wives or used as sex slaves by Islamic warriors.
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With the dramatic kidnapping of the Chibok girls politicians worldwide, including Democrat and Republican politicians in the United States who  had been silent about the plight of Nigerian Christian civilians, rallied to “Bring back our girls.”
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If the recent Nigerian negotiations with the Boko Haram are true, it will result in a miracle return from captivity for the girls whose fate was was being mourned by millions worldwide.

Rand Paul defends Houston pastors under attack

October 15, 2014

“No minister, anywhere, should ever have to submit a sermon to a government censor.” – Senator Rand Paul

Only minutes ago, Senator Rand Paul spoke up for the Houston pastors who have become the latest target in what religious leaders say is the city government’s ongoing war against its own churches.  Messaging on Twitter, Senator Paul declared, “The First Amendment doesn’t exist to keep religion out of government.  It exists to keep government out of religion.”  Said Paul, “I stand with the pastors and churches in Houston against government interference and harassment.”

Houston city attorneys, under the direction of Mayor Annise Parker,  have now subpoenaed sermons preached by selected pastors whom they believe are opposed to the city’s new agenda.

Here is a quick review of the unfolding drama in Houston.

Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly Lesbian mayor of a major city, promoted an ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination in the public and government subsidized venues.  So far so good.  But a controversial part of the ordnance allowed transgender citizens to file discrimination lawsuits if prohibited from a restroom.  Was this a problem?  Where there signs up saying, “No transgenders allowed?”  Some Christian leaders now caught in the middle of the controversy contend that this was an angry politician, purposely poking the bear.

There were all kinds of discussions in the community.  Who was to determine who was transgender and who was not?  A doctor?  A psychiatrist?  Could a man suddenly declare himself a woman and enter a woman’s restroom?  With under age children?

As the proponents of the ordinance hoped, the churches reacted with confusion and panic.  There was a recall effort launched to get the ordinance on the ballot.  The churches gathered more than 50,000 signatures.  It was well over the 17,269 needed.  And then the city poked again.  The Houston city attorney declared that there were insufficient signatures.

The churches sued.

The city attorneys issued subpoenas for their sermons.  And not sermons from the churches who filed the lawsuit.  No, they wanted sermons from other pastors whom critics suspect were specifically targeted because they posed the biggest threat to the city’s agenda.  The subpoena called for “all  speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by delivered by, revised by or approved by you or in your possession.”

Concerned Christian leaders insist that this is not a comedy of errors, that it is not a mistake but it is a systematic, purposeful attempt to silence and frighten the churches into changing their doctrines and suborning free speech.  The city attorney’s will use taxpayer’s money to bankrupt the churches and silence their political voices.  Thus the decision to go after the selected churches who were not even involved in the lawsuit with the city.  It was much the same tactic that allowed the gay and lesbian takeover of the Episcopal Church, taking some congregations and using their resources to take over others.   Only this time it is acted out in the public square with public money which will now be used to destroy the churches and silence their voices.

The city has deep pockets.  In fact, the churchgoers, paying their taxes, will ironically finance the city of Houston in its war to destroy their own culture.

The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other Liberal groups expressed alarm at the city’s overreach. Meanwhile, Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission expressed sadness at the events and astonishment at the “audacity” of the Houston City government’s attack on its own pastors and congregations.

Coincidentally, the day before the Houston subpoenas, Moore held a private meeting with Senator Rand Paul at the Senator’s office in Washington, D.C.  Part of the conversation was about the war on Christianity unfolding in places around the world.  Who would know what the next volley would be fired by the city government of Houston, Texas?


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